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An international phenomenon, an ambitious, brilliant, angry historical novel, written by four young Italian men, and a bestseller across Europe.

About the Author

Luther Blissett was, until recently, on the coaching staff at Watford FC. A black British footballer, he is perhaps best known for his brief and unglorious stint at A C Milan in the early '80's. He had nothing to do with the writing of this book. Federico Guglielmi, Fabrizio Belletati, Luca di Meo and Giovanni Cattabriga, the real authors of Q, range in age from 26 to 36 and live in Bologna.

Reviews

Crafted by four fledgling authors and published anonymously in Italy, this literary thriller became a best seller with a cult following throughout Europe. In 1517 Germany, as the Reformation gets underway, a fired-up young Anabaptist plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with a papal spy known only as Q. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Rich religious history is turned into bloated, tedious fiction in this Reformation-age epic produced by four anonymous writers lurking behind a pseudonym. In 1517, Martin Luther nails his 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg Cathedral. In 1525, a one-time theological student, a radical Anabaptist who goes under a number of names over the course of the narrative, but who is initially called Gustav Metzger, pulls off the first of a number of hairbreadth escapes from heretic hunters keen to spill the blood of any would-be supporter of Luther. For the next 30 years, even as Protestantism slowly makes inroads across Europe, Metzger is tracked by a papal spy who, traveling incognito under the eponymous moniker Q, keeps his boss apprised while he and his compatriots attempt to crush the movement on behalf of the Vatican before the schism widens. Needless to say, they fail. Translator Whiteside has done the best he could with the material: stripped-down chapters breathlessly composed of short, snappy paragraphs ("The girl smiles. She's extremely beautiful") alternate with epistolary passages given a faux-historical gloss. Speech anachronisms abound throughout, especially when events are related by Metzger and company ("`What the fuck did you say? What? So you're not dead, but you scare me anyway, pal, you scare me'"), and most of the characters sound so alike that not only do they remain lifeless on the page, they are often indistinguishable from one another. A good amount of historical research is lumped throughout, but the period stylings are wooden and the story never gains enough momentum to carry readers along. (May 4) Forecast: This was a cult hit in Europe, but will face a struggle in the U.S., despite a striking jacket and enticing doorstop heft. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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